Fergus Falls State Hospital and Poor Farm Cemetery Tour
The Otter Tail County Historical Society is hosting a tour of the Fergus Falls State Hospital and Otter Tail County Poor Farm cemeteries on Saturday, October 22, at 11 a.m Cost of the tour is $10. No registration required.
Park in the back lot of the Fergus Falls Veterans Home and look for Chris with his blue OTCHS banner. We will proceed to make a big loop as we walk to both cemeteries. Dress appropriately and wear comfortable shoes as the walk is fairly long. The tour is not handicapped accessible and no motor vehicles are allowed.
Much like the hospital itself, the State Hospital cemetery elicits mixed emotions.It is serene, picturesque and sad all at the same time. From the first burial in August 1890 (less than a month after the hospital opened) to the last in 1968, some 3,200 people were laid to rest there. Most of the graves are unmarked, yet everyone buried there had names, lives and stories. The tour will attempt to uncover bits and pieces of this history, to gives names to some of the people buried there.
Before there was any sort of government safety net, who was responsible for the poorest of the poor? The State of Minnesota put that responsibility on individual counties. For Otter Tail that meant establishing a county poor farm in 1881 on land two miles north of Fergus Falls on what is now County Highway 27. The farm also had a cemetery adjacent to the State Hospital cemetery. From the 1880s until the mid 1930s, over 150 people were buried at the poor farm cemetery. Volunteers Bob Riepe and Vern Barker will be on hand to tell us about their efforts to locate and mark grave sites.
Fergus Falls State Hospital and Poor ...
Date and Time
Saturday Oct 22, 2022 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM CDT
Saturday, October 22
11 am - 12 pm
Park in the back lot of the Fergus Falls Veterans Home (1821 N Park St, Fergus Falls) and look for Chris with his blue OTCHS banner.